Whipping Creek not expected to be repeat of previous fires

By on April 27, 2016

Wildfires are a natural part of coastal N.C.’s ecosystem. (NCFS)

While the Whipping Creek Fire on the Dare/Hyde mainland has grown to nearly 16,000 acres since it started last week, fire officials say they are not concerned that it will smolder in the nutrient-rich peat soil like others have in recent years.

The fire has charred a combination of public and private lands surrounding Long Shoal River after small grassfires were accidentally ignited by mowers working along U.S 264.

Containment was up to 70 percent as of Wednesday afternoon, and full containment is expected by late next week.

Minimal heat was detected on the fire Monday, and helicopter water drops were being used on areas where infrared equipment detected heat blooms. Despite warm, dry and breezy conditions, very little fire growth was expected Tuesday.

One of the big concerns is that the fire could move into what is known as the “264 Low Pocosin,” an area encompassing 20,000 acres northwest of Stumpy Point in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge with very few roads or canals.

The soil is made up of a rich, organic material known as “peat” that can be as much as 4 feet below the surface, and when ignited during extremely dry conditions, can burn and smolder for weeks on end.

“Rainfall during the past two years has fed the water table and the area is wet,” according to Bonnie Strawser, visitor services manager for Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. “Compared to other peatland fires we’ve seen, this one is much less intense.”

Major wildfires over the last decade, such as the Evans Road Fire in 2008 and the Pains Bay Fire in 2011, produced smoke for months that blanketed the region at times. It took a major snowfall to eventually put out the Evans Road fire, and Hurricane Irene to extinguish Pains Bay.

Nearby Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is working to restore as much of the the natural hydrology as possible in some of its pocosin habitat that was extensively altered by ditching and draining.

“These habitats will always have fire, but restoring a more natural water regime in portions of Pocosin Lakes Refuge will help us hold future fires to a shorter duration, meaning less ground fire, less smoke and less cost,” Strawser said.

Strawser said the Whipping Creek Fire has cost about $1 million to battle, with 146 firefighters and fire managers assigned, primarily from the North Carolina Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In comparison, the Evans Road Fire burned for four months and cost taxpayers nearly $19 million.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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